KLUANG: Maszlee Malik wants to twin Simpang Renggam with several cities in Australia and the United States.
The Simpang Renggam MP, who is also education minister, says he is now in talks with ambassadors from the two countries over the matter.
“They have brought in the idea of having the twin city programme during discussions with the two ambassadors who came to visit the education ministry.
“Our ambassadors in the US and Australia have agreed (to the plan) and are looking for the ideal city there.
“We hope the people of Simpang Renggam can go there and vice-versa.
“Maybe, we can also have student exchange, tourism as well as small and medium industry (SMI) business programmes,” he told reporters at the Simpang Renggam parliamentary-level Hari Raya gathering here today.
Maszlee said among the proposed cities were Louisville, Kentucky, and Anaheim, California, in the US, as well as a city in Queensland, Australia.
“We will try to make this a pilot project… It will open windows of opportunity in education, business, SMI and so on,” he added.
Meanwhile, Maszlee said he was now requesting the state government to consider providing free bus services, namely “Bas Harapan Johor”, for the benefit of the people in Simpang Renggam.
He said the existing free bus service, namely “Bas Muafakat Johor”, which was introduced by the previous state government, had only one route.
“Since Simpang Renggam has fewer attractions, public transport is limited here and this makes it difficult for our children to go to school.
“As such, I’m asking the state government to provide ‘Bas Harapan Johor’. We want more routes to make it easier for our children to go to Kluang, Ayer Hitam, Renggam, Kulai, Layang-layang and so on.”
According to Maszlee, Menteri Besar Osman Sapian had, in principle, agreed to the request but needed to scrutinise the costs and look for sponsors from private and government-linked companies.
On rumours over who would become the new deputy education minister, he said it was up to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to decide.
However, Maszlee hinted that the candidate was a woman.